COM0014 – Blog #1: My Book, or How I Spent My Summer Vacation

swing-1188132_1920Someday, I’m going to write a book. “Playgrounds of Ireland” is the working title.

I’m sure it will appeal to that especially intrepid traveller, the one whose travel partners think chicken nuggets and fries are gourmet foods and who are best amused on swings, monkey bars, and merry-go-rounds.

How did I spend my last vacation? In the playground. In many playgrounds, actually. All over Ireland.

I could have stayed home and done this, I thought more than once during our three-week holiday. But if I’d done that I wouldn’t be able to share how awesome the playgrounds were. Truly awesome.

Doorly Park, Sligo

Our first visit was to Doorly Park Playground along the banks of the Garavogue River in Sligo, the “Gateway to the Northwest.” It’s in a riverside wetland park that also features a large wooded area with a five-kilometre path looping through it.


Between the park and the playground neither child nor adult would have cause to be bored. For children, a really great climbing net was the highlight, and adults could use the equipment in the “green gym,” rugged versions of adult exercise equipment typically found indoors.

The children thought it was the highlight of Sligo. The real highlight was the dash we made for a beach on the coast, after the rain had stopped and the sun came out. It was 8:30 p.m. and the sun wouldn’t set for another hour and a half.

Active Ennis Tim Smythe Park

Off to Ennis, where we quickly discovered a very different – but equally excellent – playground in the Active Ennis Tim Smythe Park. The Park itself featured sports fields, another “green gym,” a running track, and walking paths, and the playground was no afterthought. There were swings, see-saws, and roundabouts – my favourite – as well as a great climbing tower that included several enclosed twisty slides. Fun for every age!

playground spring toy

It was much, much busier than the playground in Sligo was, and we passed the time  chatting with locals and visitors alike.

The children thought this playground was the Ennis highlight. The real highlight was trekking over to Miltown Malbay, where thousands of musicians and music-lovers from around the world had descended on the seaside town for the Willie Clancy Summer School. We didn’t go to school, but we did sit in on many of the music sessions held at the town’s 13 pubs, and we also headed to the Armada Hotel in adjacent Spanish Point for some Irish country dancing.

Malahide Castle

Last on this short list is Malahide Castle Playground near Dublin.

The huge playground was divided into sections suiting younger and older children, and had every kind of swing, slide, and climbing contraption a child could want.

And the children thought this was the highlight of Dublin. The real highlight was the evening we spent in Howth, just north of the city. We combed the beach, chatted with the fishermen on the wharf, and savoured a lovely meal at The Oar House Fish Restaurant.

But the real highlight of the whole trip?

The time we spent together and the gift of seeing Ireland through the eyes of our children.

What about you? Do you read up on the playgrounds before you choose your travel destinations? Do you have a favourite? Is it still worth it to travel with young ones or do you think it’s better to wait till they’re older?


Photo source: Pixabay

2 thoughts on “COM0014 – Blog #1: My Book, or How I Spent My Summer Vacation

  1. I really enjoyed reading your post, it made me smile! I love travelling and LOVE the fact that you are already taking your children out to see the world… even if it means seeing a lot of playgrounds. While I’ve never seen a playground in Ireland and I certainly don’t plan playground visits into my holidays, I have seen a few playgrounds and lovely parks in Australia. I don’t know if it’s because the weather is nicer there or if they’re just more creative, but playgrounds there seem so much more fun than the ones here in Canada. Perhaps someday you can write a sequel about the playgrounds down under? 😉

    • What a great idea! Australia is definitely on our list of places to see. Travelling is interesting exactly because it allows us to see our differences, whether just in how we design playgrounds or in more profound ways. Thanks so much for commenting. I’m glad you enjoyed reading it.

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